Celebrating 25 Years of Magic The 2009 Magic Express ornament commemorates 25 years of Hallmark Keepsake Magic ornaments. Hallmark Keepsakes introduced the first "magic" ornaments back in 1984 with the introduction of "lighted" ornaments. Two years later, motion was added in 1986. Until 1989 the "Magic" ornaments were ornaments that featured light, motion or a combination of the two features. In 1989, sound was introduced to the magic ornaments with the 1989 Baby's First Christmas. This ornament was the first to feature light, motion and sound. However, sound did not become a "common" feature for magic ornaments until 1992.
In the beginning of Magic ornaments power was provided by plugging the ornaments into the miniature Christmas light strands. But the 1997 Night Before Christmas ornament introduced the wind up powered ornament. Much like a jewelry box functions, you simply wind the key and music plays as different components of the ornament move. Another early windup was one of my favorites, the 1998 Santa's Merry Workshop.
As miniature Christmas light strands (and electrical specs and regulations) have changed over the years collectors have had a more difficult time finding light strands that will work with their older Hallmark Keepsake Magic ornaments. Hallmark responded with the light strand adapters a few years ago and most of those problems have been solved. But that may have also be the primary reason for the move to battery powered ornaments. Battery operated ornaments became more common in 2001 with the Kris and the Kringles ornament. It is my understanding that 2009 marks the final year for the UL ornaments, those ornaments that plug directly into your Christmas light strand.
But don't think for a minute that the changes and advancements in magic ornaments have stopped. In the July 2009 issue of For Keeps, two of the primary forces behind the Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments, Ken Crow (Hallmark Master Artist) and Ron Carlson (Senior Product Development Engineer) indicate that "the possibilities for Keepsake ornaments (Magic ornaments in particular) are endless." Ken says, "We're almost at the point where, if we can dream it, we can make it happen."